A male traveler with his pet
Travel Guides & Tips

7 Essential Tips for Travelers with Pets

For many, pets are family. If you’re a pet owner like me, you’ll understand why leaving your pets behind when you’re out traveling is not always that easy.

People care so much about their pets that there’s now a growing pet travel trend. Today, you’ll find services like pet hotels, taxi, restaurants, spas, pet sitting, and many more exclusive services for pets. So, if you need to be out of the country for leisure or for work, these services will care for your pets while you’re gone.

But, not all pet owners want to go on a vacation without the other member of the family. So they take their pets with them when they travel. This is common among dog and cat owners.

It’s not going to be as easy as it sounds, though. There’s a lot that needs to be done and if you’re unprepared, it can make your trip rather challenging.

I’d love to see more people sharing special moments with their pets abroad. Traveling with pets should be inspiring, not demotivating. So, if you’re going to include your pet in your upcoming journey, here are 7 essential tips to ensure that you and your pet will have a good experience together.

1. Get your pet a passport

A cat at the vet
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Just like you, your pet needs to be fit and qualified enough to travel. A pet passport is what it needs.

This doesn’t usually apply for interstate travels. You can obtain the certificate from your local veterinarian. The document will prove that you pet is clean from any kinds of diseases, especially rabies. Some pet clinics and pet stores offer passport-like journals where you can also have your pet’s photo kept. That way all your pet’s details are organized in one place.

2. Give your pet a microchip implant and vaccines

Pet getting a microchip
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In order to travel, your pet needs to be completely healthy. It’s required by law that any pets traveling by air need to get vaccinated and have a microchip implanted in their bodies. Using the microchip, you can track your pet in case the both of you get separated. Don’t worry; the microchips are not going to hurt your pet. They’re extremely small and harmless.

The good side is that if your dog ends up in an animal shelter, the shelter will be able to contact you after they’ve scanned your pet’s microchip which will contain your pet’s identification number.

3. Let your pet wear name tags at all times

Chihuahua wearing a name tag
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This is one of the first things you’ll need to get for your pets. A pet name tag typically displays the name of your pet, home address, and your contact number. Even when you’ve already implanted a microchip in your pet’s body, a pet name tag will come in handy should you lose your pet.

If your pet does not end up in a pet shelter, there’s no way for you to retrieve your pet. The only thing that can possibly happen is someone finding your lost pet and giving you a call right away to inform you where you can collect it.

4. Take your dog to pet-friendly destinations

Local parks and beaches usually tolerate pets although not all of them are actually pet-friendly. So it’s always best for you to thoroughly research about your destination.

In France, pets are welcomed almost everywhere. In fact, the French love their canine friends so much that you’ll find many of them dining happily at pet-friendly restaurants with their dogs, or traveling happily together in touristy places.

It gets even better in Switzerland. Pets are also allowed to travel on public trains, buses, and even boats. P.S. Some small dogs (depending on size) get to enjoy free rides!

If you have to visit attractions that do not accept animals, you can always turn to pet boarding services. In Malaysia, the popular ones are Petsodia, Petfinder, and Pet Nanny.

5. Create a packing list

Create a packing list for your pet
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Prior to your departure, you’ll need plenty of things prepared for your travels. Create a packing list where you can list down everything you need, including your pet’s needs. If you’re going to cold countries, make sure you have your warm jackets packed.

Not all pet breeds are fine with cold weather. You may need to get one for your pet too. This will certainly impact your pet’s well-being and feelings. Just be sure not to over pack your bags. To know what’s best for your pet during your travels, consult your local veterinarian for tips regarding the matter.

6. Don’t forget to attend to your pet’s needs

Feeding your pet while traveling
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Traveling is indeed fun as long as you don’t neglect your pet. An upset or sick pet will not make your trip fun anymore. Therefore, make sure you have all your pet’s needs covered. Plan out a feeding routine or stick to it if you already have it. Feed your pet with the right amount of food (dehydrated pet food is recommended) and make sure your pet drinks enough water, especially when you take it out for recreational activities.

Unless your pet is on the plane, you should let it take as many breaks as possible. Make sure to bring waste bags for your pet too. The last thing you want is getting complaints from the country’s local community about your pet.

7. Keep your pet close to you

A chihuahua in a bag
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Even when your pet has a name tag or microchip implanted in its body, always keep your pet close to you in order to reduce the risk of you losing it. If you’re traveling with your pet dog, have it tied to a leash when necessary. If you have a small pet, your hands can remain free if you have it kept in a small pet bag. There are plenty of cute ones you can buy online.

Should you be on the plane, there’s no exception for your pet to stay outside of its crate. Also, inform the authorities of the attractions you’re going to if you’re bringing your pet with you on your trips.

What about you? Are you taking your pet with you on your next trip? If yes, where will you both go?